There have been settlements within the parish since at least Saxon times.
The tithings of Hildeslei (Hillesley), Cyllingcocotan (Kilcott) and Treshaa (Tresham) were three of the seven lands listed in the Parish Charter for Suth Stoc (Hawkesbury) granted by King Edgar to Pershore Abbey in 972 AD.
Both Hildeslei (Hillesley) and Chilecot (Kilcott) are listed in the Great Domesday Book of 1086.
Archaeological investigations prior to developments, revealed remains of a ringwork and possible Saxo-Norman fortified manor (Jubillee Field, Hillesley) and 11-12th Century field systems (Farmcote, Hillesley)
Between the C17th and C19th both Hillesley and Tresham became thriving farming communities with a variety of associated crafts and trades; and various corn and fullers mills developed along the Kilcott Valley.
Hillesley Before the Great War – David Chappell’s recollections
David Chappell’s recollections and photographs of the time are available in a book “Hillesley A Backward Glance” privately published in 2007.
The C20th saw the gradual end of agriculture as the dominant employer. As elsewhere, the loss of both men and horses in the Great War led to changes in farming practice and patterns of employment. Horse transport was replaced by the bicycle and motor car, leading to the villages becoming less isolated and more attractive to commuters.
Hillesley has largely become a dormitary village. Most of the farms have had to diversify to survive, and most of the cottages have been modernised and extended. It has gained housing developments at St Giles Barton and Farmcote; but lost its post office, shops and baptist chapel. The Fleece, one of the two pubs, continues to thrive; as does the primary school first established in 1875. St Giles Church, built in 1851, is now part of the Wickwar Benefice.
Tresham retains four working farms and the church built in 1855; but has lost all other amenties.